A Christian watchdog group is warning the Welsh government has admitted that pastors are at risk of prosecution over its proposed law to ban so-called “conversion therapy” in Wales.
According to Christian Concern, a draft of the government’s LGBTQ+Action Plan which was published in July will ban “all aspects” of sexual orientation change therapy, or what’s often derisively known as “conversion therapy.”
Some UK Christians see this plan as a threat to the religious freedom of pastors and would not allow them to counsel any members of their flock who have unwanted same-sex attractions.
In the government’s recently published Equality Impact Assessment on the plan, the watchdog noted, “A proposal within the draft plan to ban conversion therapy practices may restrict religious freedoms and place faith leaders at risk of prosecution.”
Since the Welsh government cannot make criminal law, Christian Concern’s Dr. Carys Moseley surmises the government wants people to able to report faith leaders to the police for “hate incidents.”
Moseley also cited a section of the Integrated Impact Assessment on the LGBTQ+ Plan. A portion on Religion and Belief says:
“The LGBTQ+ Action Plan sets out our ambition to be the most LGBTQ+ inclusive country in Europe. This means we must pursue systemic cultural change and progress in creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive Wales. LGBTQ+ people have the right to feel safe at home, in school, in the workplace, and in the wider community. This includes supporting faith communities to be inclusive of LGBTQ+ people.”
“The Welsh Government does not have direct powers over matters of human rights such as religious freedom, so it is clearly pushing the envelope here in offering ‘support’ for those who would attack orthodox Christianity,” Moseley said. “It should really maintain a neutral stance.”
Moseley warns Welsh pastors to wake up and take a stand against the proposed law.
“The long and short of all this is that the process for this Welsh Government consultation cannot be trusted. The consultation involves an attack on religious freedom and single-sex rights, threatening to send responses to the police, spreading confusion about the law, and sheer cronyism,” he wrote.
“Welsh pastors need to wake up and realise that they could be at risk of prosecution simply for faithfully doing their work. It is time to stand up and push back for the Kingdom of God,” Moseley concluded.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Ken Ham, in his article, “Conversion Therapy Bans Are a ‘Trojan Horse’,” explained that so-called “conversion therapy bans” are a direct assault on the religious freedom of Christians and their ability to speak Biblical truth:
“Conversion therapy bans” have been popping up throughout the West. Those pushing these bills claim they’re trying to protect people, often specifically children and teens who identify as LGBT, from supposed abusive practices (which do sometimes make up certain so-called “conversion therapies”). But what are these bans really all about?
Well, for years, conservative politicians and Christian commentators (including me) have been saying these “conversion therapy bans” are “Trojan horses” that pave the way for the bridling of free speech and the criminalization of those who believe and act on biblical principles. You see, LGBT activists claim that if you don’t fully embrace, support, and celebrate an LGBT lifestyle or identity, then that’s hate speech and harming someone because that person is more likely to commit suicide since you did not affirm them. In their minds and by their flawed logic, those who hold to the biblical belief that an LGBT identity and lifestyle are sinful are hurting other people and driving them to suicide; therefore such people (Christians specifically) don’t deserve to be able to speak their views. Many politicians are viewing this matter now as a civil rights issue—but it’s not. It’s a moral issue.
The warning that these bans are Trojan horses isn’t a fallacious slippery slope argument. As an opinion piece by Jonathon Van Maren on LifeSite news points out, LGBT activists are starting to publicly make that argument in the UK. He notes that several leaders from “post-Christian churches” are urging the Prime Minister of the UK to take proposed “conversion therapy bans” one step further:
Whilst we recognise and applaud your overall aim to “end conversion therapy” we would caution you that this will not be possible until our religions have done more theological thinking on these matters – which we and others are committed to helping them do. [In other words—until other churches have abandoned God’s Word like these churches have in favor of a message that is not the gospel and therefore doesn’t save!]
We urge you to make it clear that the UK will not tolerate those who practice conversion therapy in any form, whether consensual or not, and that those who practice it will be prosecuted. This will have the impact of causing religious leaders to think twice, as they will be loathe to risk having a criminal record that would stop them from following their vocation.
Religious leaders—those who would preach, teach, and counsel from God’s Word—are called out here as being part of these “conversion therapies” and that legislation should make them “think twice” before speaking the truth from God’s Word on sexual issues. It’s an outright assault on freedom of religion and speech and, above all, on biblical truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ (the only message that truly delivers someone from their slavery to a sinful identity, if they will repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ).
As believers, we must be prepared to continue sharing biblical truth regardless of what the culture around us says or threatens. Teaching God’s Word is not abusive or dangerous—the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). It is the gospel and the truth of God’s Word, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that free us from our slavery to sin (Romans 6:6) and makes us a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The time is coming when speaking biblical truth regarding sexuality will be illegal. But we must love people enough to continue to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), making disciples (Matthew 28:19), as we do the King’s business until he returns (Luke 19:13). Are we courageous enough to boldly state as Peter and the apostles did: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)?